Archive by date | March 2008

Are the IPCC scenarios ‘unachievable’?

Are the IPCC scenarios 'unachievable'?

The dizzying economic growth in Asia threatens to disappoint expectations that new technologies will provide an easy fix for our climate problem, warn the authors of a commentary article in Nature this week.

Roger Pielke, Tom Wigley and Christopher Green believe that the Intergovernmental Panel on Change Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for its work, plays “a risky game” when assuming that “spontaneous advances in technological innovation will carry out most of the burden of achieving future emissions reductions.”

Climate predictions vs. observations

In a Science paper last year (subscription required), Rahmstorf et al. pointed to 2001-2006 measurements of global temperature at the top end of the IPCC’s 2001 projections – and global sea level rise well beyond the range predicted in 2001 – as evidence that “the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates.” Today in a letter to Nature Geoscience (subscription required), Roger Pielke, Jr, questions whether models from that 2001 generation improve on the predictive power of their forbears.  Read more

Antarctic ice breakup caught on tape

The Guardian was far from alone in reporting this week that “A vast hunk of floating ice has broken away from the Antarctic peninsula, threatening the collapse of a much larger ice shelf behind it, in a development that has shocked climate scientists.” On The Great Beyond, Quirin Schiermeier points out that the the most noteworthy thing about this delicately poised hunk of the Wilkins ice shelf may be its media visibility: the loss of a 400-square-kilometre piece of the same shelf earlier this year received no such fanfare.  Read more

Back in the land of unintended consequences

Back in the land of unintended consequences

Last year on Climate Feedback, Kevin Vranes wrote about some of the unintended consequences of climate policy – namely how the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism was increasing greenhouse gas emissions through the burning of HCF-23 in developing countries – as well as increasing ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere. Now, the drive to tackle climate change – and fast – has landed us back in the land of unintended consequences, though for a whole host of other reasons. A few particularly noteworthy examples have come across my radar in the past couple of weeks. First up, is the increasing demand  … Read more